The Big Ten announced today that Cal’s game at Minnesota on Sept. 19 will begin at 11 a.m. CDT and air on either ESPN or ESPN2. That means Cal will have a 9 a.m. PDT start for the second year in a row.
We all know how last year’s early start time worked out. The Bears seemed a step slow in a loss to Maryland. As I’ve said before, I believe some of the reason for Cal’s shortcomings in that game was due to the early start time, but it was augmented by the searing heat and humidity. But had the Bears been better rested, perhaps they would have coped with the heat better?
This year will be a little different. The most significant difference is the Bears are only changing two time zones, not three. And, of course, it is a shorter plane ride.
For the record, according to weather.com, the average high in Minneapolis on Sept. 19 is 70 degrees.
There was a lot of discussion last year whether Cal should have left on Thursday for Maryland to get acclimated to the time change. Because of the economy, I can’t imagine the Bears would consider doing that this season. But again, since the time change isn’t as severe and the weather probably won’t be as much of a factor, travel shouldn’t have quite as much of an impact as it did for the Maryland game.
The game against Eastern Washington on Sept. 12 is now the only one that remains to be decided before the season begins. We know the season-opener against Maryland begins at 7 p.m. (ESPN2), Sept. 19 at Minnesota at 9 a.m. (ESPN or ESPN2), Sept. 26 at Oregon at 12:30 p.m. (ABC), Oct. 3 against USC at 5 p.m. (ABC) and Dec. 5 at Washington at 3:30 p.m. (TV TBA). All of Cal’s remaining games are subject to the Pac-10′s 6 and 12-day window, meaning they could appear on ABC, Fox Sports Net, Versus, a local production or not at all.